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1.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci ; 26(1): 284-290, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1630130

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures accompanying it have been accused of having a negative influence on the frequency and methods of treatment of various diseases including head and neck cancer (HNSCC). To go further into this assumption, the diagnoses made, and treatments performed at one of Germany's largest head and neck cancer centres were evaluated. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This study consisted of one single centre and involved a retrospective review of all patients with newly diagnosed or recurrent HNSCC. The diagnosis and treatment methods used in the pre-COVID-19 time period between March 1st, 2019, and March 1st, 2020, were analysed and compared with the COVID-19 time period from April 1st, 2020, until April 1st, 2021. The primary objective was defined as the number of malignant diagnoses and the secondary objectives as the disease stage and the time to therapy. RESULTS: A total of 612 patients (160♀; mean 63 yrs.) were included. 319 patients (52%) were treated in the pre-COVID-19 time. The two groups did not differ in terms of age (p=0.304), gender (p=0.941), presence of recurrent disease (p=0.866), tumour subsite (p=0.194) or the duration from presentation to the multidisciplinary tumour board until start of therapy (p=0.202). There were no significant differences in the T stage (p=0.777), N stage (p=0.067) or UICC stage (p=0.922). During the pre-COVID-19 period more patients presented with distant metastases (n= 23 vs. n=8; p=0.011). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that there was no significant change in either the number and severity of HNSCC diagnoses or the time until start of therapy at this large head and neck cancer centre as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnosis , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Cancer Care Facilities , Delayed Diagnosis/trends , Female , Germany , Head and Neck Neoplasms/therapy , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasm Staging , Retrospective Studies , Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck , Young Adult
2.
Radiother Oncol ; 167: 42-48, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1569002

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Inevitably, the emergence of COVID-19 has impacted non-COVID care. Because timely diagnosis and treatment are essential, especially for patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) with fast-growing tumours in a functionally and aesthetically important area, we wished to quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HNC care in the Netherlands. MATERIAL AND METHODS: This population-based study covered all, in total 8468, newly diagnosed primary HNC cases in the Netherlands in 2018, 2019 and 2020. We compared incidence, patient and tumour characteristics, primary treatment characteristics, and time-to-treatment in the first COVID-19 year 2020 with corresponding periods in 2018 and 2019 (i.e. pre-COVID). RESULTS: The incidence of HNC was nearly 25% less during the first wave (n = 433) than in 2019 (n = 595) and 2018 (n = 598). In April and May 2020, the incidence of oral cavity and laryngeal carcinomas was significantly lower than in pre-COVID years. There were no shifts in tumour stage or alterations in initial treatment modalities. Regardless of the first treatment modality and specific period, the median number of days between first visit to a HNC centre and start of treatment was significantly shorter during the COVID-19 year (26-28 days) than pre-COVID (31-32 days, p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: The incidence of HNC during the Netherlands' first COVID-19 wave was significantly lower than expected. The expected increase in incidence during the remainder of 2020 was not observed. Despite the overloaded healthcare system, the standard treatment for HNC patients could be delivered within a shorter time interval.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Head and Neck Neoplasms , Laryngeal Neoplasms , COVID-19/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/therapy , Humans , Incidence , Pandemics
3.
Am J Otolaryngol ; 43(2): 103302, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1565516

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: We aim to investigate the true benefits of free individual HNC screening in a high-risk urban population as well as the associated risks. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a retrospective descriptive study. Free HNC screening was performed from 2014 to 2019. Participants were issued a questionnaire at the time of screening. After exemption by the Institutional Review Board, completed screening questionnaires were entered into a database and descriptive statistics were generated. The primary outcome measure for this study was the detection rate for HNC. We hypothesized that screening would be low yield based on previous studies (Gogarty et al., 2016). RESULTS: This was a volunteer sample with a total of 410 participants, and the highest yield screening year was 2019 (n = 187). For all years, the cancer detection rate was 0%. In 2019, 134 (77.9%) of participants did not recognize the early symptoms of HNC, and 120 (73.2%) reported the screening program increased their awareness of the disease. 13 (7.6%) reported HPV vaccination while 126 (71.2%) were unaware that HPV has been linked with head and neck cancer. CONCLUSIONS: HNC screening is an excellent opportunity for education regarding HNC risk factors. However, it is not a cost-effective use of physician time, does not increase detection rates even in high-risk segments of the general population, and is not completely without risk in the context of COVID-19. Perhaps the focus of HNC screening should shift from individualized screening to education and health promotion.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Head and Neck Neoplasms , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnosis , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Humans , Mass Screening , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol ; 279(2): 1111-1115, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1474004

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, otolaryngology departments across the United Kingdom have adopted non-face-to-face clinics with consultations being carried out remotely, via telephone or video calls. By reducing footfall on hospital sites, the aim of this strategy was to limit direct contact and curb the spread of infection. This report outlines our experience of conducting a telephone triage clinic in the assessment of urgent suspected head and neck cancer referrals during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: New patients who were referred on the urgent suspected head and neck cancer pathway were prospectively identified between 1 May 2020 and 31 August 2020. Patients were triaged remotely using telephone consultations. Risk stratification was performed using the 'Head and Neck Cancer Risk Calculator' (HaNC-RC v.2). RESULTS: Four-hundred and twelve patients were triaged remotely during the 4-month study period. Of these, 248 patients were deemed 'low risk' (60.2%), 78 were classed as 'moderate risk' (18.9%) and 86 were considered 'high risk' (20.9%) according to the HaNC-RC v.2 risk score. Twenty-four patients who were assessed during the study period were diagnosed with head and neck cancer (5.82%). CONCLUSION: The use of teleconsultation, supported by a validated, symptom-based risk calculator, has the potential to provide a viable and effective adjunct in the assessment and management of new suspected head and neck cancer patients and should be considered as part of the inherent re-shaping of clinical service delivery following the ongoing pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Head and Neck Neoplasms , Remote Consultation , Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnosis , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/therapy , Humans , Pandemics , Referral and Consultation , SARS-CoV-2 , Triage
7.
Anticancer Res ; 41(10): 5065-5069, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1449416

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/AIM: Many patients with head-and-neck cancer are scheduled for irradiation. This study was performed to determine the frequency of and risk factors for pre-radiotherapy sleep disturbances in these patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 103 patients with head-and-neck cancer scheduled for radiotherapy were included in this retrospective study. Eighteen characteristics were evaluated including timing of start of radiotherapy relative to COVID-19 pandemic; age; gender; Karnofsky performance score; Charlson comorbidity index; history of another malignancy; family history of malignancy; distress score; number of emotional, physical or practical problems; request for psychological support; tumor site and stage; upfront surgery; planned chemotherapy; and brachytherapy boost. RESULTS: The frequency of pre-radiotherapy sleep disturbances was 42.7%. This was significantly associated with age ≤63 years (p=0.049), Karnofsky performance score ≤80 (p=0.002), Charlson comorbidity index ≥3 (p=0.005), history of another malignancy (p=0.012), emotional (p=0.001) or physical (p<0.001) problems, and request for psychological support (p=0.002). CONCLUSION: Sleep disturbances were frequent in patients assigned to radiotherapy of head-and-neck cancer. Recognizing risk factors for sleep disturbance helps identify patients requiring psychological support.


Subject(s)
Head and Neck Neoplasms/psychology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Sleep Wake Disorders/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/pathology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prevalence , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Sleep Wake Disorders/epidemiology
9.
Cancer ; 127(22): 4177-4189, 2021 11 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1363649

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Remote triage for suspected head and neck cancer (HNC) referrals was adopted by many institutions during the initial peak of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Its safety in this population has not been established. METHODS: A 16-week, prospective, multicenter national service evaluation was started on March 23, 2020. Suspected HNC referrals undergoing remote triage in UK secondary care centers were identified and followed up for a minimum of 6 months to record the cancer status. Triage was supported by risk stratification using a validated calculator. RESULTS: Data for 4568 cases were submitted by 41 centers serving a population of approximately 26 million. These represented 14.1% of the predicted maximum referrals for this population outside of pandemic times, and this gave the study a margin of error of 1.34% at 95% confidence. Completed 6-month follow-up data were available for 99.8% with an overall cancer rate of 5.6% (254 of 4557). The rates of triage were as follows: urgent imaging investigation, 25.4% (n = 1156); urgent face-to-face review, 27.8%; (n = 1268); assessment deferral, 30.3% (n = 1382); and discharge, 16.4% (n = 749). The corresponding missed cancers rates were 0.5% (5 of 1048), 0.3% (3 of 1149), 0.9% (12 of 1382), and 0.9% (7 of 747; P = .15). The negative predictive value for a nonurgent triage outcome and no cancer diagnosis was 99.1%. Overall harm was reported in 0.24% (11 of 4557) and was highest for deferred assessments (0.58%; 8 of 1382). CONCLUSIONS: Remote triage, incorporating risk stratification, may facilitate targeted investigations for higher risk patients and prevent unnecessary hospital attendance for lower risk patients. The risk of harm is low and may be reduced further with appropriate safety netting of deferred appointments. LAY SUMMARY: This large national study observed the widespread adoption of telephone assessment (supported by a risk calculator) of patients referred to hospital specialists with suspected head and neck cancer during the initial peak of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. The authors identified 4568 patients from 41 UK centers (serving a population of more than 26 million people) who were followed up for a minimum of 6 months. Late cancers were identified, whether reviewed or investigated urgently (0.4%) or nonurgently (0.9%), but the overall rate of harm was low (0.2%), with the highest rate being seen with deferred appointments (0.6%).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnosis , Remote Consultation/methods , Triage/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Child , Child, Preschool , Communicable Disease Control/standards , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/therapy , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Prospective Studies , Remote Consultation/standards , Risk Assessment/methods , Triage/standards , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Young Adult
10.
J Laryngol Otol ; 136(3): 248-251, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1279750

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The impact of coronavirus disease 2019 extends far beyond the immediate burden on healthcare systems caused by hospitalisation of patients with the disease itself. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on the referral rate of patients to the suspected head and neck cancer two-week-wait clinic. METHODS: A multicentre retrospective study was performed investigating data collected for all patients attending the suspected head and neck cancer two-week-wait clinic in ENT departments in the West Midlands. RESULTS: A total of 509 fast-track referrals were received from February to April in 2019, compared to 399 referrals in 2020. April 2020 saw a 62.4 per cent reduction in referral rate compared to April 2019. CONCLUSION: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has resulted in changes to health-seeking behaviours, and healthcare provision and delivery. Urgent policy interventions may be required to compensate for the hidden impact that the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has had on those with cancer.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnosis , Referral and Consultation/statistics & numerical data , Waiting Lists , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Communicable Disease Control , Delayed Diagnosis , Female , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/therapy , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , Retrospective Studies , Time Factors , United Kingdom
13.
Clin Otolaryngol ; 46(4): 729-735, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1155875

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to evaluate the differences in surgical capacity for head and neck cancer in the UK between the first wave (March-June 2020) and the current wave (Jan-Feb 2021) of the COVID-19 pandemic. DESIGN: REDcap online-based survey of hospital capacity. SETTING: UK secondary and tertiary hospitals providing head and neck cancer surgery. PARTICIPANTS: One representative per hospital was asked to report the capacity for head and neck cancer surgery in that institution. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The principal measures of interests were new patient referrals, capacity in outpatients, theatres and critical care; therapeutic compromises constituting delay to surgery, de-escalated surgery and therapeutic migration to non-surgical primary modality. RESULTS: Data were returned from approximately 95% of UK hospitals with a head and neck cancer surgery specialist service. 50% of UK head and neck cancer patients requiring surgery have significantly compromised treatments during the second wave: 28% delayed, 10% have received radiotherapy-based treatment instead of surgery, and 12% have received de-escalated surgery. Surgical capacity has been more severely constrained in the second wave (58% of pre-pandemic level) compared with the first wave (62%) despite the time to prepare. CONCLUSIONS: Some hospitals are overwhelmed by COVID-19 and unable to offer essential cancer surgery, but all have neighbouring hospitals in their region retaining good (or even normal) capacity. It is noteworthy that very few patients have been appropriately redirected away from the hospitals most constrained by their burden of COVID-19. The paucity of an effective central or regional strategic response to this evident mismatch between demand and surgical capacity is to the detriment of our head and neck cancer patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/surgery , Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures/methods , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Tertiary Care Centers , Comorbidity , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Humans , United Kingdom/epidemiology
14.
J Laryngol Otol ; 135(4): 344-347, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1146477

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This prospective study aimed to evaluate possible diagnostic delays in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma recurrences due to the changed follow-up protocol during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. METHODS: The follow-up appointments of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients treated more than one year prior to the pandemic were changed to telephone appointments in order to reduce physical visits to the hospital. All contacts, reasons for contact and recurrent cancers were recorded. RESULTS: There were 17 recurrences during a seven-month study period among 178 patients treated in the previous year (10 per cent); 14 of these recurrences occurred in patients whose treatment had ended less than one year previously and 3 occurred more than one year after treatment had ended. There was no delay in diagnoses of recurrent tumours or treatment despite reduced visits because of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. CONCLUSION: According to our analyses, no delay was caused in the diagnoses of recurrent diseases. Follow up by telephone or telemedicine can be considered as part of the follow-up protocol one year after the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma when necessary.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/diagnosis , Delayed Diagnosis/statistics & numerical data , Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnosis , Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/diagnosis , Aftercare/statistics & numerical data , Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/epidemiology , Finland/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Humans , Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/epidemiology , Prospective Studies
15.
Cancer Causes Control ; 32(5): 459-471, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1126565

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: The rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic around the world caused most healthcare services to turn substantial attention to treatment of these patients and also to alter the structure of healthcare systems to address an infectious disease. As a result, many cancer patients had their treatment deferred during the pandemic, increasing the time-to-treatment initiation, the number of untreated patients (which will alter the dynamics of healthcare delivery in the post-pandemic era) and increasing their risk of death. Hence, we analyzed the impact on global cancer mortality considering the decline in oncology care during the COVID-19 outbreak using head and neck cancer, a known time-dependent disease, as a model. METHODS: An online practical tool capable of predicting the risk of cancer patients dying due to the COVID-19 outbreak and also useful for mitigation strategies after the peak of the pandemic has been developed, based on a mathematical model. The scenarios were estimated by information of 15 oncological services worldwide, given a perspective from the five continents and also some simulations were conducted at world demographic data. RESULTS: The model demonstrates that the more that cancer care was maintained during the outbreak and also the more it is increased during the mitigation period, the shorter will be the recovery, lessening the additional risk of dying due to time-to-treatment initiation. CONCLUSIONS: This impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cancer patients is inevitable, but it is possible to minimize it with an effort measured by the proposed model.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Time-to-Treatment , Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/etiology , Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/mortality , Global Health , Head and Neck Neoplasms/etiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/mortality , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Risk Factors
16.
Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol ; 278(12): 5081-5085, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1118225

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare is huge. We intended to demonstrate how COVID-19 pandemic affected primary head and neck oncology patient's referral and admission to a tertiary center by comparing the retrospective patient data in March-September 2020 and the same period in 2019. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, from March 15th, 2020 to September 15th, 2020, medical records of 61 patients (Group 1) diagnosed and scheduled for surgery for head and neck cancer in our tertiary care center were revised and compared with 64 head and neck cancer patients treated in the same institution in the same time period of the previous year (Group2). Surgical site, TNM stages, need for reconstruction with flap, time from first symptom occurrence to first admission to our institution, and time to surgery were noted. RESULTS: In Group 1, out of 56 patients, 26 were diagnosed with T1-2 tumor, while 30 had T3-4 tumor. In Group 2, 43 of 60 patients had T1-2 tumor, while only 17 of them were diagnosed with T3-4 tumor. The rate of T3-4 tumors had significantly increased in 2020 when compared to 2019 (p = 0.049). In oral cavity cancer patients, N stage was significantly increased in Group 1 when compared to Group 2 (p = 0.024). Need for reconstruction with regional or free flaps were significantly increased in oral cavity cancer patients (p = 0,022). The mean time from the beginning of the first symptom to the admission was 19.01 ± 4.6 weeks (ranging between 11 and 32 weeks) in Group 1, while it was 16.6 ± 5.9 weeks in Group 2 (ranging between 6 and18 weeks); with significant increase (p = 0,02). The time to surgery from first admission was 3.4 ± 2.5 and 2.9 ± 1.2 weeks in Group 1 and 2, respectively, with no statistically significant difference (p = 0.06). CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused delay in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases as such in head and neck cancers. Admission with advanced stage disease and the need for more complex reconstructive procedures were increased. During the pandemic, the management of other diseases that cause mortality and morbidity should not be neglected and priorities should be determined.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Free Tissue Flaps , Head and Neck Neoplasms , Reconstructive Surgical Procedures , Cross-Sectional Studies , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Head Neck ; 43(6): 1890-1897, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1111193

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Due to COVID-19, diagnostic delays and a surge of advanced head and neck cancer (HNC) is anticipated. We hereby evaluate patient and tumor characteristics before and during the early COVID-19 period. METHODS: Retrospective review of patients with HNC presented at a multidisciplinary tumor conference from May 14, 2020 to June 18, 2020 was performed and compared to a similar 6-week period a year before. Demographics, time to diagnosis, and tumor characteristics were analyzed. RESULTS: There was a 25% reduction in newly diagnosed malignancies. Groups were similar in baseline characteristics, duration of symptoms, and time to diagnosis. However, median primary tumor size was significantly larger (p = 0.042) and T stage more advanced for mucosal subsites (p = 0.025) in the COVID-19 group. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest increased tumor burden in patients with HNC presenting during the pandemic, despite a similar time to diagnosis. This may become more pronounced as the pandemic duration is extended.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Head and Neck Neoplasms , Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnosis , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Laryngorhinootologie ; 100(2): 104-110, 2021 02.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066006

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: COVID-19 pandemic has impact on the oncology service system for tumor patients. What is the view of head and neck cancer patients (HNC) on this situation and which coping strategies were developed? MATERIAL & METHODS: In study 1 PRIO asked 433 tumor patients regarding their impressions/fears during the lockdown between April 15 and May 15, 2020 (online, standardized questionnaire). In 2nd study 292 tumor patients reported their pandemic-induced perceived changes and coping strategies by established questionnaires (WHO-5, MLQ, GrAw-7). An analysis of the HNC-data obtained by standardized questionnaires was performed. RESULTS: Study 1 had 91 HNC, study 2-84 HNC. Study 1 shows high stress levels for the majority of HNC (53,8 %). Personal fears regarding the own disease and therapies (39.6 %) are a central problem. The participants await physical (24.7 %) as well as psychological (21.3 %) consequences due to the pandemic and its current management. During the lockdown the isolation (banned visitors at any hospital) was discussed as critical main point by 58.5 % of HNC patients. Study 2 (after lockdown) underlined the mental stress caused by pandemic. Intensified relations within the families (58/100 points) as well as more intensive experience of nature and silence (58/60 points) are the most perceived changes in corona-times. HNC showed increased own inactivity (MLQ) and depressed well-being (WHO-5) and attention to the moment (GrAw-7). CONCLUSIONS: HNC patients have had high burden and fears due to the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. Their views are important for further strategies to organize and stabilize the oncology service system during further pandemic periods.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Head and Neck Neoplasms , Adaptation, Psychological , Communicable Disease Control , Head and Neck Neoplasms/epidemiology , Head and Neck Neoplasms/therapy , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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